Design Quotes

I find quotes thought-provoking and inspirational. Terri Guillemets captured the essence of collecting quotes in this quote about quotes:

Most collectors collect tangibles. As a quotation collector, I collect wisdom, life, invisible beauty, souls alive in ink.

I've collected some of my favorite quotes about design and shared them here. 

  1. "A design isn’t finished until somebody is using it." Brenda Laurel.
  2. “I prefer design by experts, by people who know what they are doing." Don Norman.
  3. “Design is so critical it should be on the agenda of every meeting in every single department." Tom Peters.
  4. “A picture is worth a thousand words. An interface is worth a thousand pictures." Ben Shneiderman.
  5. "You can use an eraser on the drafting table or a sledge hammer on the construction site." Frank Lloyd Wright.
  6. “Just how do I design if not with prototyping? An excellent question. The short answer is ‘on paper.’" Alan Cooper.
  7. “Questions about whether design is necessary or affordable are quite beside the point: design is inevitable." Douglas Martin.
  8. “Any darn fool can make something complex; it takes a genius to make something simple." Albert Einstein.
  9.  “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like - Design is how it works.” Steve Jobs.
  10. "Design the total customer experience - everything a customer sees, hears, and touches." Vredenburg, Isensee, & Righi.
  11. “Business success is always defined by the quality of the overall customer experience.” Forrester Research.
  12. “As far as the customer is concerned, the interface is the product." Jef Raskin.
  13. “Design is the easiest way to re-energize a product.” Fast Company.
  14. "Making products easy can be hard work." Vredenburg, Isensee, & Righi.
  15. “The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” Hans Hofmann.
  16. “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” Steve Jobs.
  17. “It's really hard to design products by focus group. A lot of times, people don't know what they want until you show it to them.” Steve Jobs.
  18. “Design is always about synthesis - synthesis of market needs, technology trends, and business needs.” Jim Wicks.
  19. “If we want users to like our software, we should design it to behave like a likeable person." Alan Cooper.
  20. “Because every person knows what he likes, every person thinks he is an expert on user interfaces." Paul Heckel.
  21. "Design can be art. Design can be aesthetics. Design is so simple, that's why it is so complicated." Paul Rand.
  22. “You know you have achieved perfection in design, not when you have nothing more to add, but when you have nothing more to take away." ASE.
  23. “I’ve been amazed at how often those outside the discipline of design assume what designers do is decoration." Jeffery Veen.
  24. "Users are not designers." Jakob Nielsen.
  25. "Designers are not users." Jakob Nielsen.
  26. "No matter how beautiful, no matter how cool your interface, it would be better if there were less of it." Alan Cooper.
  27. "A well-designed and humane interface does not need to be split into beginner and expert subsystems." Jef Raskin.
  28. “Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way." Edward de Bono.
  29. "You see things, and you say: 'Why?' But I dream things that never were, and I say: 'Why not?'"George Bernard Shaw.
  30. "The marketplace practices natural selection. People will naturally select the easiest way to do something." Vredenburg, Isensee, & Righi.
  31. “Interactive design is a seamless blend of graphic arts, technology, and psychology.” Brad Wieners.
  32. "Form follows function - that has been misunderstood. Form and function should be one, joined in a spiritual union." Frank Lloyd Wright.
  33. “Things should be made as simple as possible, but not any simpler.” Albert Einstein.
  34. "I made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it short." Blaise Pascal.
  35. "Ultimately, users visit your website for its content. Everything else is just the backdrop." Jakob Nielsen.
  36. "A general principle for all user interface design is to go through all of your design elements and remove them one at a time." Jakob Nielsen.
  37. "Keep testing simple - so you do enough of it." Steve Krug.
  38. "It isn't sufficient to simply eliminate user error - designing user delight is the goal." Karel Vredenburg
  39. "A bad website is like a grumpy salesperson." Jakob Nielsen.
  40. "Make it obvious what's clickable." Steve Krug.
  41. "Very often, people confuse simple with simplistic. The nuance is lost on most." Clement Mok.
  42. "Bad web navigation is like a roach motel - users go in, but they can't get out." Doren Berge.
  43. “Technical skill is mastery of complexity, while creativity is mastery of simplicity.” Erik Christopher Zeeman.
  44. "What users want is convenience and results." Jef Raskin.
  45. "Usability goals are business goals." McCharty & Souza.
  46. "Is your technology showing?" IBM.
  47. "Ease of use may be invisible, but its absence sure isn't." IBM.
  48. "To design is to communicate clearly by whatever means you can control or master." Milton Glaser.
  49. "Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Design is knowing which ones to keep." Scott Adams.
  50. "Design, in its broadest sense, is the enabler of the digital era." Clement Mok.
  51. "Both optimists and pessimists contribute to our society. The optimist invents the airplane and the pessimist the parachute." Gil Stern.
  52. "It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see". Henry David Thoreau.
  53. "Good design begins with honesty, asks tough questions, comes from collaboration and from trusting your intuition." Freeman Thomas.
  54. "An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid to fail." Edwin Land.
  55. "Design the total user experience - everything the user sees and touches." Karel Vredenburg.
  56. "Design is everything. Everything!" Paul Rand.
  57. "Good design is good business." Thomas J. Watson.
  58. "Delay always breeds danger; and to protract a great design is often to ruin it." Miguel de Cervantes.
  59. "To dismiss front-end design as mere ‘icing’ is to jeopardize the success of any site." Curt Cloninger.
  60. "It is better to have enough ideas for some of them to be wrong, than to be always right by having no ideas at all." Edward de Bono.
  61. "The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas." Linus Pauling.
  62. "Decision by democratic majority vote is a fine form of government, but it's a stinking way to create." Lillian Hellman.
  63. "Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties." Erich Fromm.
  64. "Creativity comes from trust. Trust your instincts." Rita Mae Brown.
  65. "Any darn fool can make something complex; it takes a genius to make something simple." Albert Einstein.
  66. "Simplicity is the final achievement.” Frederic Chopin.
  67. “It is far better to adapt the technology to the user than to force the user to adapt to the technology.” Larry Marine.
  68. “If there’s a ‘trick’ to it, the UI is broken.” Douglas Anderson.
  69. “If you're not failing every now and again, it's a sign you're not doing anything very innovative.” Woody Allen.
  70. "To turn really interesting ideas and fledgling technologies into a requires a lot of disciplines." Steve Jobs.
  71. "Throwing away ideas too soon is like opening a package of flower seeds and throwing them away because they're not pretty." Arthur VanGundy.
  72. "The user’s time is more valuable than ours. Respect it. Good UI design is humble.” Jono DiCarlo.
  73. “Features are meaningless. They mean nothing to users. A coherent product user interface is the product to users.” Kim Goodwin.
  74. "Creative activity could be described as a type of learning where teacher and pupil are located in the same individual." Arthur Koestler.
  75. "There's a way to do it better—find it." Thomas Edison.
  76. "Genius is one percent inspiration, and ninety-nine percent perspiration." Thomas Edison.
  77. "Simplicity is an acquired taste. Mankind, left free, instinctively complicates life."Katharine Fullerton Gerould.
  78. “True interactivity is not about clicking on icons or downloading files, it’s about encouraging communication.” Ed Scholssberg.
  79. “Design is the art of gradually applying constraints until only one solution remains.” Unknown Author.
  80. "People ignore design that ignores people." Frank Chimero.
  81. "Great design will not sell an inferior product, but it will enable a great product to achieve its maximum potential." Thomas J. Watson Jr.
  82. "Don’t design for everyone. It’s impossible. All you end up doing is designing something that makes everyone unhappy." Leisa Reichelt.
  83. “The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution.” Bertrand Russell.
  84. “Visual appearance is one of the most effective variables for quickly differentiating one application from another.” Bob Baxley.
  85. “Problems with visual design can turn users off so quickly that they never discover the smart choices made with interaction design.” Garrett.
  86. “When people talk about innovation in this decade, they really mean design” Bruce Nussbaum.
  87. “Business success is always defined by the quality of the overall customer experience.” Forrester Research.
  88. "The design of the total user experience is only as good as it's weakest link." Karel Vredenburg.
  89. “Design is always about synthesis -synthesis of market needs, technology trends, and business needs.” Jim Wicks.
  90. “Users said they were more likely to believe Web sites that looked professionally designed.” Stanford Study.
  91. "There are three responses to a piece of design – yes, no, and WOW! Wow is the one to aim for." Milton Glaser.
  92. "Design is intelligence made visible." Don Newgren.
  93. "Good design means as little design as possible." Dieter Rams.
  94. "If I had asked the public what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse." Henry Ford (re balanced approach to design).
  95. "Become a creative thinking detective! Ask probing questions. There is no such thing as a wasted question." Elaine Dundon.
  96. "Great designs comes from great designers." Karel Vredenburg
  97. "Design is the intermediary between information and understanding." Richard Grefe.
  98. "Design adds value faster than it adds cost." Joel Spolsky.
  99. "Good design doesn’t cost, but it pays." Richard H. Driehaus.
  100. "Design is art optimized to meet objectives." Shimon Shmueli.
  101. "Design, in the end, is about creating better things for people. Along the way, it can generate better profits as well." Bruce Nussbaum.
  102. "Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works." Steve Jobs.
  103. "Never underestimate the value on an idea. Every positive idea has within it potential for success if it is managed properly" RH Schuller.
  104. "Broken gets fixed. Shoddy lasts forever. Make sure it gets done right the first time." Jack Moffett.
  105. "The public is more familiar with bad design than good design...The new becomes threatening, the old reassuring. " Paul Rand.
  106. "Things that look different should act different. Things that look the same should act the same. " Larry Marine.
  107. "Easy is Hard" Peter Lewis.
  108. "Design must reflect the practical and aesthetic in business but above all... good design must primarily serve people. " Thomas J. Watson.
  109. "Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Design is knowing which ones to keep." Scott Adams.
  110. "The important thing is not to stop questioning." Albert Einstein.
  111. “The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” Hans Hofmann.
  112. “An enterprise's most vital assets lie in its design and other creative capabilities.” Kun-Hee Lee.
  113. “Truly elegant design incorporates top-notch functionality into a simple, uncluttered form.” David Lewis.
  114. “The future lies in designing and selling computers that people don't realize are computers at all.” Adam Osborne.
  115. “Designers shooting for usable is like a chef shooting for edible.” Aarron Walter.